Something bizarre and potentially dangerous has happened in college football this week.
I have become one of the 65 voters in the Associated Press college football rankings.
In late November? How? Why? And most of all … me?
The how is easy. Eric Page had been Iowa’s representative on the AP panel. But he has quit his sportswriting job at the Quad City Times to take a position at a Quad Cities college. Page joins the million or so people who have left newspapering in November, but at least his departure was voluntary and for a better station in life. Good for him.
I guess it’s fitting I work in sportswriting, because I need a turnstile to count all the people I’ve seen come and go in the newspaper biz.
So last week I got a phone call. AP decided it wanted Iowa to have a vote through the final three weeks of the regular season and after the national-title game is played next Jan. 8. Would I do it?
I asked myself what was in it for me, and the answer was nothing. Then I thought some more. I could get some Hlog fodder out of it. And, of course, the threat of violence from fans of teams who felt wronged. The Hlog fodder cancelled out the fear of personal harm, so I agreed.
I did this once before, way back in 1993. My pick for the No. 1 team at the end of the season was Notre Dame. The national-champ was Florida State. I still think I made the right call.
So, tonight after the material from the Iowa-Minnesota game is shipped off to the Gazette and Gazetteonline, I’ll cobble together a Top 25. I will do so not having seen the Texas Tech-Oklahoma game, which stinks. Nor will I have seen BYU-Utah, or Michigan State-Penn State, or Pittsburgh-Cincinnati, or any other game involving a ranked team or a squad vying for a ranking.
So I’ll have to rely on the scores, and published accounts of the games. But if you want to offer kernels of valuable information you think I need to know to cast a more-informed ballot, I encourage you to post your comments here anytime Saturday.
And now, off to Minneapolis.